Toungoo Dynasty Tattoo Handle

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Tattoo Tools:

Even though this is a fragment, it is an exceptionally rare bronze tattoo tool counter balance done in a Burmese style. The character depicted on the handle is a Bilus. The Bilus are ancient ogres or demons. In literature, the Bilus are described as having shapeshifting powers—an ability to take on different physical appearances. There are 24 different classical demon forms, each with its own name and role in stories and plays.

16th-17th Century

Burmese tattoos are traditional tattoos that have been practiced in Myanmar for centuries by various ethnic groups, including the Bamar, Shan, and Karen. Tattooing was a distinguishing cultural marker and a symbol of strength, courage and intimidation. These tattoos are also believed to have magical powers and are often used as protection against evil spirits or for good luck. The Hnitkwasok tattoo tool consists of a needle, tube, and counter weight or handle.